The Disability Interview
While there are many different aspects involved in investigating a long-term disability claimant or individual disability insured, including IME’s, surveillances, database searches, etc., one of the most valuable tools at our disposal while working for a disability insurance company was the personal contact interview. Conducting a disability interview is both art and science, and takes a lot of training and experience to perfect. In the end it can make the difference between a claim for disability benefits being approved or denied. To our surprise, after jumping ship to the other side and representing SSDI applicants at Social Security disability hearings, we learned that the exact same questions asked during our previous disability interviews were, and continue to be, used by Administrative Law Judges. Thus, winning at the disability hearing level requires more than simply submitting medical documentation and arguing the law, but also in-depth knowledge of the correlation between activities of daily living and stated restrictions and limitations (residual functional capacity). If your disability attorney is not fully prepping you for a hearing by questioning you in great detail (for hours) about the same, taking into consideration your physical and mental impairments, you need to find a competent disability advocate fast. There are plenty of general practitioners out there who believe, as lawyers, they can take on virtually any case, but that is not reality. Think about it. If you have a sinus problem you go to an ENT, not a podiatrist who treats feet. The legal profession is no different folks. Find a disability specialist.